5 touchscreen interfaces you should know about

There are various types of touchscreens available, and with the majority of people using touch screen technology these days, it’s good to know what’s what. So we’ve compiled this handy list of the best and most common touchscreen interfaces with their pros and cons, to help you better-understand touchscreen technology.

5-wire resistive

Low in cost and power consumption, and the most common touchscreen interface, 5-wire resistive offers tactility with a glass panel and film screen, with a thin metallic layer. Although its image definition is of lower quality, its ability to be activated by any object, and its dust and moisture resistant build make it very popular among touchscreen users, although it should be noted that the polyester film is prone to damage.

Surface capacitive

With this interface, a transparent electrode layer is placed on top of a glass panel with a protective cover, and the screen reacts to static electrical capacity from the human body. This means the screen will only function with human touch or a stylus, and it is sensitive to Electro-Magnetic and Radio Frequency Interference. On the flip-side, it offers great image quality, durability, high scratch resistance, and resistance to dust and moisture.

Projected capacitive

Like surface capacitive, but the screen also functions with surgical or thin cotton gloves, and reacts to multi-touch. Made up of a sheet of glass with embedded transparent electrode films and an integrated chip, projected capacitive interfaces offer high image clarity, and excellent scratch resistance, as well as to dust and moisture. Again, like surface capacitive, projected capacitive is sensitive to EMI and RFI.

Surface acoustic wave (SAW)

Offering simple use and high visibility, SAW touch screens create an invisible grid of ultrasonic waves on the surface of the monitor’s glass plate via piezoelectric transducers and receivers, and the monitor can be activated by finger, glove, or soft tip stylus. SAW interfaces offer great image quality, excellent ‘touch life’, and better scratch resistance than capacitive interfaces, but can be falsely activated by as little as water droplets, and any solid contaminants can prevent the touch screen from working.

Infrared touch (IR)

Infrared offers the best image quality using IR emitters and receivers to create an invisible grid of light beams across the screen, avoiding overlaying the display with an additional screen like other interfaces. Sensors are also able to locate the touch point of any interrupting object. IR offers unlimited ‘touch life’ and is completely scratch-proof. With infrared beams above the glass surface, it can be triggered accidentally, and the light beam could be compromised by a build-up of dirt or moisture. Even though IR comes at a higher price, it is also sensitive to snow and any water, as well as ambient light interference.

Whatever touchscreen interface your customers and clients are using, make sure you are offering a touchscreen friendly service. Find out more about how we can help you adapt to touch screen by clicking below and feel free to get in touch, we’re always happy to chat.